Introduction to Catalysis

Professor Shannon Stahl and his group are working on making new catalysts for environmentally friendly reactions. A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the reaction. Many catalysts are made from combining metals with other elements like oxygen and carbon. Many chemical reactions being carried out in industry today use harmful oxidants that are toxic to the environment. Catalysts like those Professor Stahl and his group are working with allow for molecular oxygen to be used as an oxidant. Not only is molecular oxygen not toxic to the environment, but because of the catalyst, only very small amounts are needed. Catalysts have many different uses, for instance, they can be used to make pharmaceutical drugs that can help people who are sick. Catalysts are also used in the exhaust pipes of our cars to convert environmentally dangerous chemicals to more environmentally friendly ones.

Picture of Catalytic Converter